What to look for when buying a used car

September 9, 2011 3:36:52 PM PDT
Outside of buying a home, buying a car is one of the biggest purchases people can make. But if you're looking to get the best bang for your buck, you might want to pass by the new car lots, and buy used.

Buying a used car isn't the gamble it used to be, but you have to do your homework first. We all know that the value of a new car plummets the moment it leaves the showroom. So this car buyer says, why not buy used?

"It'll last for another 10 years, almost as long as a brand new car and save $17,000," said car buyer Isreal Camacho.

Jon Linkov with Consumer Reports said, "Buying a late-model, low-mileage used car can be a smart move. It can cost as much as 45 percent less than the same car was when new, yet still have most or all the features you're looking for and still have years of life left in it."

Consumer Reports says if you're buying a used car, get ready to do some research. As you narrow down your choices, be sure to factor in a vehicle's reliability. Then research going prices and hone in on actual cars on sites like AutoTrader.com, eBay, and Yahoo autos.

Linkov said," When you find the right car, now is the time to be extra skeptical. Getting a vehicle history report, like a Carfax, is OK, but don't stop there."

You'll need your mechanic to inspect the car, as the vehicle history report doesn't always pick up everything, like accidents. You'll probably need to leave a deposit with the seller. And expect to pay around $100 for the inspection.

Linkov said, "If the car passes mechanical muster, you're ready to bargain. Make an offer based on the prices that you've researched. Be prepared to dicker a little. But also be prepared to walk away."

Solid research and diligence can pay off when you find a great car at a great price.


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